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Is Samsung's wild new display concept the future of smartphones?

Samsung rollable phone concept
A fan-made render of a rollable Samsung smartphone (Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

You remember flip phones. You've seen foldable phones. You might have heard of rollable phones. But how about transparent rollable phones? Yep, that's what Samsung is touting in its latest patent filing, and it sounds pretty wild. 

The concept of the 'rollable' has been around for a couple of years, with a few impressive tech demos showing 'unfurling' displays that expand in size, a little like unrolling a poster. But Samsung wants to make the idea even more magical. (Feeling old school? Check out the best flip phones available now.)

Samsung patent filing

A screenshot from the patent filing (Image credit: Samsung)

A new Samsung patent application reveals a device featuring a rollable display, complete with a transparent section. This means objects behind the phone would be visible, but information could still be displayed on the screen.

We've been pretty sceptical about transparent tech in the past (seriously, who needs a transparent TV?), but when it comes to a mobile device, the AR potential makes a lot more sense. For example, taking measurements of a physical object whilst actually being able to see it (rather than looking at it through the camera app) could be a game-changer for augmented reality. 

LG Rollable

The LG Rollable was teased last year (Image credit: LG)

While the patent illustrations are naturally complicated (turns out a lot of tech goes into transparency), the idea of a see-through phone sounds pretty novel. Unlike the circuit board vibe of most Y2K translucent tech, a truly 'invisible' slab could look pretty magical.

From the LG rollable to Oppo's rolling concept, we've seen a few exciting examples of expanding screen tech. And the benefits for creatives could be profound – users could literally unroll a larger digital canvas when required. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine a rollable becoming the first smartphone to rival our best drawing tablets.

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).